Thursday, July 24, 2008

Second Amendment Fetishism Con't...

Vitaly Alex Kovtun Doesn't like Mustard

Savannah, GA. One of the assurances we're given by people like GA State Rep. Tim Bearden, and John Monroe, Esq. (plaintiff and attorney in a lawsuit against Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the right of Handgun Activists like themselves to walk packin' through the Terminal) and organizations such as--real, and the NRA is that permitted, law-abiding, citizens are thoroughly vetted by their States, using tools such as the National Instant Check System (NICS) before granting a license. (The NICS process takes between a minute to 3 days to complete.) Although this process is certainly better than nothing, it does nothing to see if the applicant is a nutbar who is about to be a fruitcake with a concealed weapon permit.

Although most anything--state regulated or no--can be turned into a weapon used in a felonious assault, hammers, screwdrivers, knives, automobiles do not have as their sole design and function a fatal purpose. The same claim is not an easy sell when it comes to semiautomatic handguns. Inner rage translates into deadly force so quickly, so easily, so readily, when there is a handgun handy. Which brings us to the vetted and formerly law-abiding gentleman above.

Last month, three teenagers cruising about in the 'burbs of Salt Lake City, pulled up next to a vehicle at a stoplight and one of the passengers, Stephen Cox, thought he'd joke around, and straight out of Wayne's World, straight from a well-known series of TV ads in the late '80's, asked, "Excuse me, sir... do you have any Grey Poupon?" In response, 22-year old Kovtun pulled a handgun from the glove compartment, cocked it, pointed it at the passengers in the other vehicle and said, "Here's your Grey Poupon. Roll your fucking windows up." Later caught and arrested, Mr. Kovtun has been charged with aggravated assault--a third-degree felony--in violation of Utah Code 76-5-102. According to court documents, Vitaly admitted to pulling the semiautomatic weapon, cocking the slide and pointing it at the people in the other vehicle.

Now common sense would dictate this man has forfeited any right to continue holding any concealed weapons permit. Obsessed, fixated, Guns Rights Activists will be happy to learn that the State of Utah has merely suspended--not canceled--his permit for the present.

So-called law-abiding citizens, legally armed with a concealed weapons permit is no guarantee of anything except wishful thinking and the hope that these strangers, granted the right to carry concealed deadly force won't have a bad day and a handy pistol to make it all better.

I feel safer, don't you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Unintended Circumstances: Malaria vs. HIV

HIV virus

Savannah, GA. A gene evolved to specifically protect Africans and their descendants against an ancient form of malaria has been revealed to convey a vulnerability to HIV infection by as much as 40 per cent.

The University of Texas Health Science Center led the research, published in the July 17th issue of Cell Host and Microbe.

For HIV, considered by my some to be everything from a punishment by a punishing deity to a CIA racist plot, a genetic reason may finally explain why the virus is so insidiously present among certain populations. The gene variant is found only in individuals of African descent, and within those descendants, present in nearly 90 per cent of the population.

"It's well-known that individuals vary in their susceptibility to HIV and that after infection occurs, the disease progresses at variable rates," said co-author Sunil Ahuja of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

"The mystery of variable infection and progression was originally thought to be mainly the result of viral characteristics, but in recent years it has become evident that there is a strong host genetic component."

Science: 1; Religious opinion: 0

Friday, July 18, 2008

South Carolina Continues to Bat 1000

Sparing the Rod and Spoiling the Child

Savannah, GA. Just days after S.C. Rep. Dave Thomas became hysterical over "gays," some 49-year old father in Anderson, S.C. apparently took after his 18-year old son after the young man returned home from a gay pride parade. As reported in the Independent Mail and the blog Towleroad, daddy went batshit crazy and "tried to cast the demon of homosexuality out [of his son.]" Cussin' and screamin,' this poor excuse for a mature adult allegedly assaulted his son with a Louisville Slugger. According to Deputy S.C. Weymouth, the teenager told deputies his father--let's use the term lightly--"has a problem with him being gay and that is why he hit him with the baseball bat." Really? A problem?

As usual, the comments section of the story in the online version of the paper carry some real nuggets of enlightenment. Someone using the handle 'Mom2Shelties' [sic] referred to parts of the story as "sensationalism" and a "so-called crime." I'll wager ole Mom has those Shelties well in line. My favorite was "scmom" [sic] posting, "how do you know his son hadn't done anything before that? how do you know he wasn't defending himself? you don't." Well, that may be technically true, but we've a pretty good idea that, along with the teenager's father, you're a horse's ass.

South Carolina: The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Monday, July 14, 2008

Eeek! Gay Beaches in South Carolina?

Bad for David Thomas

Savannah, GA. "Somebody has to be responsible for this, and we'll demand responsibility." So said a breathless S.C. Republican State Senator David Thomas regarding the ad campaign shown above. "This is absolutely a subject matter that adheres to a social position and it's simply improper for the state to be going after one social position." Right. This from a state that peddles "In God We Trust" and "Shag" auto license plates. "From my own perspective, it's bad for the state to make such statements about the state, to assert that South Carolina has gay beaches." Nope. Just a state with more than its fair share of politicians in the closet. Oops.

As mentioned on Pam's House Blend and Towleroad, it turns out some hapless advertising agency manager in contract contact with the South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department signed off on the campaign, which was tied to London's gay pride festivities. Besides shrieking--shrinking--away from the whole affair, South Carolina will also stiff the Amro Worldwide London Travel Agency's $5,000 fee to participate in the ad campaign.

South Carolina: Homophobic and classy, all at the same time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sign Your Real Name

Savannah, GA. Anonymity on the internet in comments sections tends to be the refuge of the Dark Side: the fearful, the snarky, the grammar and syntax-challenged, the cruel. It lowers the standards of discourse and plays into a lower denominator. It should be said that anonymous sources are not created equally. Anonymity definitely serves a purpose--it is useful, even vital at times, in law enforcement or in news reporting. But the opinions/comments/editorials of strangers on the web on any given subject are something much, much less. Anonymous posting in comments sections--be they blogs or online periodicals--are the equivalent of gossip tacked to a utility pole three blocks down the street. Is this written by committee or an individual? A bureaucratic hack with an agenda, the neighborhood Mr. Crabbyappleton, or a precociously bright 14-year old? An actual name or moniker leaves a trail. One may use a search engine and possibly see if this individual actually exists, and if the seeming reasonableness of their message is routine or a fluke. Am I reading the thoughts of a fellow traveler or the agenda of a political/corporate scheme filtered through an anonymous mouthpiece? There are no guarantees here, but it certainly helps.

Search with an actual, real name and the result is potentially far more specific, revealing and conclusive. It most certainly does not speciously boost the importance of any idea I may share in any manner, but it does allow any interested reader to know there's a better chance I truly stand behind the words I write. It also affords individuals (supporters of my ideas, or no) a clearer pathway to continue the discussion, even dialogue, off-site, privately and anonymously to others.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Two Clowns

Rep. Tim Bearden and John Monroe, esq.?

Savannah, GA. One day into Georgia's new rootin' tootin' gun law, the Second Amendment Fetishists are shocked, shocked they may not bring their permitted handguns into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Ben DeCosta, airport general manager and advocate of common sense said, "My message is simple: Leave your firearms at home." With their tighty whiteys in a pinch and their feelings in a lather, gun rights attorney Mr. John Monroe has filed a lawsuit to allow the gun-fixated to stride the Terminal with a holstered weapon--something the law doesn't permit in the airport parking lot. The newly enacted law allows people to carry guns on public transit, in state parks and into restaurants. Monroe argues the Atlanta airport is just the type of public transportation for which the law provides. As everyone knows, there are also restaurants within the terminal, so by Monroe's reckoning.... you get the picture.

A man with a fellow fascination with firearms in public spaces, Rep. Tim Bearden--a state legislator and sponsor of the new law--is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Apparently this brainiac called a newspaper to inform everyone he would be carrying a concealed weapon to the airport on Tuesday when he went to pick up his family. Perhaps the public servant could have the courtesy to inform us all when and wherever he ventures out into public?

Second Amendment Fetishists

Savannah, GA. Today, it will be legal for Georgians with carry permits to take their firearms aboard buses, light rail, within state parks and into liquor-serving restaurants.

I feel safer; don't you?

A bunch of nutbar state legislators thought this would be a good idea and an even better regulation. Somehow we're supposed to be reassured that the 300,000 permitted gun owners who will soon be packing where they couldn't before will have undergone a criminal background check. Wonderful. Hospitalized as an inpatient in a mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center as little as six years ago? No problem--Georgia's only concerned about the last five. How about a drug test for current unlawful use of a controlled substance? Nope; we'll take your word on that. Schizophrenic off your meds? Beats me. Mature enough to pack a pistol into the local steak house and keep it holstered after a third cocktail in the midst of a heated argument? Well, that's none of your business, partner.